WYOMING — The Fourth of July is one of the most celebrated holidays, taking place in the middle of summer, many people are prompted to recreate outside in one form or another.
Yellowstone National Park and Bridger Teton National Forest sent out tips to help our recreationists practice responsibility and safety this Independence Day.
Visitors planning to head up to Yellowstone should follow these tips sent to Buckrail by the park:
- #RecreateResponsibly and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- Wear face coverings in high-visitation areas and inside visitor facilities.
- Maintain social distancing of six feet (2 m), especially in high-visitation areas such as on boardwalks and popular trails, in visitor facilities, and while viewing wildlife.
- Follow current local, state, and national health guidance.
- If you are sick, do not visit the park. Self-isolate to avoid exposing others.
- Stay informed about changes to park operations due to COVID-19. Download Yellowstone’s App, and visit the park website and social media channels.
- Come prepared. Visitor services are limited.
- Expect wait times at park entrances. Buy an entrance pass online ahead of time.
- Dispose of waste properly. Throw trash in garbage cans.
- Pack your patience. Drive defensively and cautiously. Enjoy the ride and allow for extra time to get from one place to another. Check for updates at Park Roads. Expect long lines and crowds during peak times of the day. Visit busy sites in the early morning or late afternoon.
- Leave fireworks at home. Fireworks are not allowed in Yellowstone.
- Extinguish your campfire. Campfires are only allowed in designated fire rings in the four developed campgrounds that are open, and most backcountry campsites. Campfires must be extinguished and cold to the touch after use. Fire danger is low.
- Take the Yellowstone Pledge
- Give wildlife space. Stay 100 yards (91 m) from bears and wolves and 25 yards (23 m) from all other animals.
- Stay on boardwalks and established trails. People have been severely burned and killed after leaving the boardwalk or reaching into hot water.
- Be bear aware. Carry bear spray and know how to use it. Be alert, make noise, hike in groups, and stay on trails.
- Watch out for water. Use caution around rivers, lakes, and streams.
- Practice safe selfies. No picture is worth hurting yourself, others, or the park. Be aware of your surroundings whether near wildlife, thermal areas, roads, or steep cliffs.
Those who are planning on floating the Snake River should also heed to the following advice given by the Bridger Teton National Forest for boaters planning on hitting the Snake River Canyon.
Recreationists can expect to see efforts in place at the West Table and Sheep Gulch access points. They are the usual put-in and take out spots for Snake River Canyon floats that help keeps traffic moving and provide for distancing between parties waiting to launch.
Key components of the operations on the boat ramps include:
- Limiting the number of vehicles and parties on the ramps at any one time.
- Asking families/parties to wait together for launch, away from other parties, at designated holding positions.
- Requesting floaters to run shuttles before launching their trip – rather than leaving people and gear in the limited space at the take out ramp at Sheep Gulch for extended periods while a shuttle is run.
- Encouraging visitors to maintain physical distance between families/parties at all times.
- Limiting the number of people allowed to remain on the Sheep Gulch boat ramp to only those needed for loading boats and gear on vehicles & trailers.
- Do not expect to hitchhike for a shuttle in the corridor
“July 4 weekend is one of the busiest of the year on the river and usually we have visitors pretty much on top of one another,” said Wild & Scenic River Manager David Cernicek. “With public health situation here in Wyoming and in neighboring states, we must have everybody’s help to protect families and keep the river open for continued use.”